Yarborough quoted in AP report on blueberry industry turnaround

David Yarborough, a professor of horticulture and wild blueberry specialist, spoke with the Associated Press for a report on a possible turnaround for the recently suffering Maine wild blueberry industry. The Maine wild blueberry harvest in 2018 was about 57 million pounds, down almost 11 million pounds from 2017, and price per pound also has declined in recent years, Yarborough said. But he and other industry members believe two consecutive years of modest harvests will contribute to a turnaround in 2019, according to the report. “I think by the time we harvest next year, we’ll be seeing a drawdown of all that storage,” said Yarborough. “The question is always, what crop are we going to have next year?” Yarborough told AP the 2018 decline was a result of factors like weather and lower harvest effort after three straight years of huge crops reaching more than 100 million pounds, as well as competition with the wild blueberry market in Atlantic Canada. The Washington Post, Boston GlobeBangor Daily News, Portland Press HeraldGloucester Daily TimesManufacturing.netMorning Ag Clips and The Maine Edge carried the AP article, and USA Today included part of the report in a “50 States” roundup. Finance Daily also quoted Yarborough in a report on the wild blueberry industry, and cited a UMaine Extension fact sheet saying, “Researchers at the University of Maine will continue to investigate more efficient ways to produce, process and market wild blueberries. With all of these forces working together, a healthy future is in store for the wild blueberry industry.”